Tournaments: StrayBullet

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Vegas Trip - Caesars and Binions Tournaments

Day8, 9/28:

Is anyone getting sick of this yet? I think I’ve “talked” more to you folks than I have my own wife, but then again, she doesn’t care about the cards or losing!

Thursday’s marathon session of rum runners hit me harder than I’d thought and Friday morning came crashing down on me like a ton of bricks. At 6:30am a most obnoxious headache pulled me from bed, begging to be handled. A swig of coke and a packet of BC Powder did the trick, and I was back down for another couple of hours. I won’t bore you with the leftover breakfast of pizza from Grimaldi’s and a half-eaten cannoli

I got myself woken up, semi-fed, showered, and then headed down to Caesars. About 11:20am the noon tourney had only 16 players registered. I’m sure that’d change but I held off to see the turnout. I went over to the Cypress Street Café for a little something to add to me Italian breakfast! Orange juice was probably a poor choice considering all the citric acid contained in my nemesis drinks from the prior evening but I just wasn’t in the mood for coffee, add a bagel and a couch, I was golden.

I got back to the room a few minutes prior to the noon kick-off and with 6 tables filling up, I ponied up the $330, said hello to Adam (again, someone who recognizes me after months of absence!) and settled into my seat. A quick evaluation of the table and I knew it was going to be rough waters. It seemed like everyone knew each other, the dealers, etc. All they were talking about was how they did in the Series, the WPT, who won what last nite, and on and on…I do like this tournament, same 10k chips and 40 minutes levels as the Venetian but a slightly worse structure. There’s a jump from L2 to L3, from 50/100 to 100/200/25. The cost of a round jumps from 150 to 550 and they seated 10 players per table where they used to be 9-handed. I was also VERY unimpressed by most of the dealers. This hadn’t been an issue/concern in the past but this time around, it was pretty sub-standard. Not to bash wholesale, as we did get a dealer during L3 that blew me away, even other dealers dropped by to watch the pitch and learn!

I watched a hand early-on and was just blown away by what had ensued. The table had already pegged the limp monkey/calling station and that created action! A few players see the raised pre-flop action and go to a flop of K9x, 2 clubs. After some betting, it gets heads-up. On a blank turn, they both check. The river produces the 9c, completing all sorts of hands, many of which I was churning through, tying to put them on their hands based on the action. For as early as it was, the pot was massive, but ended with the one player “mucking” after the other had tabled his rivered nut-flush. The other player was pretty disgusted as he threw his cards into the middle, attempting to show ‘em, with one landing face up and the other face down, it had cart-wheeled the table. The pot is being pushed to the flush when the “mucker” says to show the other card, and when it was turned over, it matched other king he’d tabled. It just happened to be the nut-boat He’ damn near mucked his hand, not being able to read it correctly. Minor fireworks occurred, we got a ruling and the flush guy handled it EXTREMELY well…what a farked up hand!

For some reason, I’ve never really done well at Caesars. I saw more 8-gappers that I ever care to see again in my card playing lifetime, but I know that’s not reasonable. K5, J2, Q4 and coupled with multiples of 92 and 94, etc. it just wasn’t in the cards for me. And as I mentioned, it was a tough table. I made a play from the bb with KQs and coupled with my “image” I thought the continuation bet would take it down without resistance…no such luck! I got a called, checked the turn and gave up the non-connected hand. I was resigned to sit back and watch as others caught all the cards that balanced out my crap. I’d decided to raise on the next orbit from utg with whatever I held, and I did just that. At 100/200/25, I made the table standard to 750 and when the last person folded, I showed my napkins, 85o. Maybe out of ego, frustration, etc but I had to let ‘em know I was catching crap cards but I could still play. Probably not the smartest thing in the world to do, but I felt a little better raking in some chips, instead of constantly whittling down me stack

I caught KK a few hands later, again from early position but got no action. With blinds now at 200/400/50, I would’ve loved a caller but I’ll take the chips. On the next orbit, I find AcKs and after a touch player who’d been catching rivers well limped in from utg, I made a standard raise to 2k. It was folded around to the bb, who made the call. The limper announced he had odds, and made the call as well. The board was produced and all I could do was stare in horror when I saw 9dTdQh. The bb pushed all-in, an over-bet in my mind that just didn’t mesh. The limper folded and it was on me. I’d started the hand with about 8k in chips, so my initial raise, I was left with a pot sized bet. The bet from the bb laid me odds of 2-1. This was the last hand of the level, with blinds going to 300/600/75 and I’d have to pay ‘em first when we got back. I know I’ve used the phrase before but the bb’s bet just didn’t seem right. I know it’s a scary board but he doesn’t seem to be protecting a made hand, he seems to be betting on a semi-bluff and if that’s the case, I’m still a dog, but I’m getting the right odds. I just don’t think he’s connected with the board. After some thinking, and I did take my time, I made the call which the bb didn’t like. He tabled 7d8d for the open-ended straight flush draw and I tabled my “winning right now” hand. Pokerstove later told me I was a 60/40 dog but like I’d said, I already knew when I was at when I made the call. The turn was red, but a heart and all I had to do was fade the river and I’d be back in fighting shape. The jack fell on the river completing both our straights, but mine was higher! Had it not been the jack of diamonds completing his straight flush, I would’ve been set for a haul. Oh well, I just need variance to catch up with my knowledge and ability…

What took me 20 minutes in the morning, took nearly 90 minutes in the afternoon. Man, this town is LOCKED up starting at 2:30pm till about 7 or so I made a pit-stop at Pop’s for a late lunch, then back to the apartment to make plans for the evening. I decided to play in the Binions 8pm tourney for $150 with a one-time $50 rebuy. I’d arrived downtown, dropping the car off at Binions valet around 6:15pm, plenty of time to gawk and walk. BikeFest 2007 was in FULL swing and it was GREAT!!! Unleashed boobs were flying everywhere, it was a spectacle that can only be seen on Fremont! Also packing the area were cops of all degrees, from swat-type camos, horseback, K9s, and uniformed patrols at nearly every casino entrance. I took in the sights and sounds and unlike on the strip, I avoided eye contact and didn’t bump anyone when they “walked like they drove.”

I made a stop at the 4Qs to pick up a stick that Milton had suggested, the Mike Ditka double corona. Not a bad smoke at all. I checked out the emptiness they call the Necropolis and wandered around checking out the old neon signs that were part of the “museum.” They have nice plaques detailing the information but I wish they were numbered or something so you get a point of reference as to where you were at in the crawl. I had even strolled all the way down to East Fremont, which is probably not a good idea for most, but with the added police presence, it was ok, for a bit. Hey Minton, that hand-rolled shop is down there and they have some AWESOME smokes, even producing house sticks for Arnold and Sly! I also found another shop next to the Harley store called Bad Habits. ANY cigar smoker HAS TO make this shop a stopping point! Luis and Andy are great and all it takes is a little talk to find out what kind of specials they have I left a little lighter in the wallet, but two DAMN FINE sticks that you’d be hard pressed to get inside the country anywhere, especially real ones

I made my way back to Binions in time to find out that we’d have 3 whole tables for the 8pm tourney, which I found strange considering all the additional people in town, ah well. Once again, I found myself sitting in a home game dealt at a casino with me being the lone interloper. No one at our table had re-bought at the start, instead, holding their cards if they busted. This happened to 2 players right off the bat, tripling up the played on immediate left on 2 separate hands. With the table dynamics being what they were, as tired as I was and taking into account the obnoxious of the table captain (who I’ve played against before there) I’d decided to play it like a freezeout and see where it led. Captain was one the players stacked early, making his rebuy. I limped behind several other limpers in late position with pocket tens and when Captain pushed, I knew I was flipping but I decided to gamble and called his push. He held AJo and caught the flop, whereas I didn’t get any help and was down to about 1100 chips. At 50/100, I made a flipping choice again against a blind pusher with QJs and his non improved ace didn’t need any help to bounce me. As I got up to leave, I was “helpfully” informed I still had my rebuy card to which I replied, “I know, thanks….good luck y’all.” Probably just about my WORST outing ever in a LONG time but considering the factors I listed, I didn’t regret either move I made or my leaving without the rebuy….besides, that $50 was had been converted into 2 wonderful sticks of island goodness!!!

Then is was back to the smoke shop, lit up the Ditka and took a seat on the couch. “The Transporter” was playing on a very sharp screen over the counter and since Luis had invited me to stay, I took him up on the offer. If you smoke, make this a stop!!! I watched the last 45 minutes of the flick, talked it up with wandering bikers then bid my adieu. I made the quick trip back up north 95 to home base but was STRAVING by this point. I HATE eating late at nite, but the neon sign of In-N-Out beckoned me and like a bug drawn to the zapper I was in line before I knew it! Full stomach and no alcohol should lead to a decent sleep, see y’all on the backside of Saturday!

Tampa MTTs - Busto?

Pre-7/1, tournaments around town routinely drew fields of 100 or more, at several different rooms. This was at the truly horrid 30% vig with 20 and sometimes, even 15 minute levels.

Post-7/1 with better blinds, longer levels and bigger buy-ins was sure to draw the same crowds, no? Apparently the draw of the also new, $100NL games have all but quashed the MTT numbers. The single table tournaments also seem to be drawing larger numbers.

Tampa Greyhound Track is a new room with plenty of fencing and guards. But they have the BEST weekly tournament structure in town, HANDS DOWN! And yet they can't even get the game off the ground. Hasn't run once due to not enough people showing up. 30 min levels and 5000 chips for $225. I'd LOVE to see this game get going!!! 1/2NL is pot raked.

Tampa bay Downs is now open year round, advertising on radio, print and TV, yet their tournament had 18 registrants at 12:26--4 minutes prior to start yesterday. This is a Saturday game boasting 30 min levels and 5000 chips for $230. The blinds are decent, not getting too fast till the end. 1/2NL is time raked.

One-eye Jacks at Sarasota Kennel Club is also a newer room that is open year round. Good staff, new tables, stiff chairs. But yet again, we got a good tourney with 30 min levels, 6000 chips, decent blinds and all for $330....but routinely sees 3 less-than-full tables. 1/2NL is time raked.

Derby Lane has increased buy-ins but I've not seen the blinds or level times. To date there's been no listing of 30 min tournaments. 1/2NL is pot raked.

Seminole Hard Rock - Tampa is THE place for a good tournament, albeit a monthly one and one that'll cost. It's a 1 re-buy and 1 add-on tournament that essentially plays out as $750 for 9000 chips and 30 min levels. Out of the tournaments listed, it's the costliest during hour 3 but the cheapest during hour 5 on up, take that for what it's worth. It also has an UNGODLY start time of 10a and don't get me started about the rude blue, gray and white hairs. Tampa could really take a page from the Lauderdale location, it really feels like slumming after being at the SFL location! They don't even stop the clock during color-up/race-offs. Seating can be BRUTAL at busy times and the brush stand is pure CHAOS! Management sees nothing wrong and as long as people flock in droves, why should they change? 1/2NL is pot raked.

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